Wairarapa MPs have diverging views on the flag, but say everyone should vote
Wairarapa MPs have all cast their vote in the New Zealand flag referendum, and, while they have differing views, each is encouraging all eligible voters to have their say.
Wairarapa National MP Alastair Scott said his vote was an "obvious choice", marking the box to bring in Kyle Lockwood's silver fern design.
"We've grown up as a country and a nation, and we don't need the Union Jack," Mr Scott said.
"Our heritage is much more than the British Empire. We're made up of a huge number of people from all over the planet, so I don't think we need the Union Jack any longer."
Mr Scott said another reason he voted in favour of the flag change was so that New Zealand would have a "distinctly different" identity to Australia "who have a similar flag".
"We can still call Australians our cousins and our best buddies, but we are different and we need a separate identity. This is why having a new flag is appropriate."
Maori Party List MP Marama Fox said she also voted for Lockwood's design and encourages everyone else to vote in the referendum.
"If people want to keep the flag, then get out and vote. Don't not vote, because that doesn't do anything," she said.
"And if people want to change the flag, then get out and vote too.
"Personally, I'd change the flag, but I would also like to see more recognition given to the Maori flag and have it fly next to whichever flag is successful."
NZ First deputy leader Ron Mark said he voted to keep the flag and that the processes surrounding the referendum are "entirely shonky".
"Look, I could write you a book on it," he said.
"I think that the process should have had only one question right at the start, do you want to change the flag, yes or no?
"And if the vast majority of New Zealanders said yes, then the process should have flowed from that.
"I just do not believe that fundamentally you can detach yourself from your genealogy, from your whakapapa, or from your history by changing the flag.
"And I do believe that this Government has tried to dumb down the question of constitutional reform and the debate on republicanism, to the question of, which piece of cloth do you think is prettier?"
Mr Mark said it was a "complete disservice to men and women over time, who have served our nation," to change the flag. "I've just seen too many coffins with that flag draped over them to ever want to see any other flag flying on a flag pole in this country. They can say what they like but we are a nation that was colonised by the British. That's a fact. You can't change that by changing the flag."